ASK THE CONDUCTOR

Our Conductors get asked a lot of questions! We've compiled the most common questions here. Expand any question below to see the answer. If you don't find your question listed, use our Contact Us page to submit your question.


TICKETS, RESERVATIONS & SEATING

Reservations are strongly encouraged for nearly all of our excursions, especially our most popular events, such as the Santa Claus Express, Autumn Leaf Special and the Holiday Lights Express. For some events, reservations are required. The event for which you are purchasing tickets will state on its event page whether reservations are required or recommended.

There are two ways to pre-purchase tickets:

  • ONLINE - Click the Schedule & Tickets link to browse our calendar and begin the reservation process.

  • PHONE - Call our Office & Education Center at 302.998.1930 during normal business hours. Please note that we often experience high call volume into our office, so we highly recommend making your reservation online.

Due to the high volume of online ticket sales, we are not able to mail physical tickets, and we are not able to send tickets via email. Your physical tickets will be held for you at the Greenbank Station ticket counter on the day of your train ride. Simply provide your last name to the Ticket Agent to pick up your tickets - you must have the physical tickets to board the train.

If the event for which you are purchasing tickets is listed as having ASSIGNED SEATING on its event page, you MUST notify us in advance if you would like to sit with another group.

  • If you have already made your reservation, you can either call our Office & Education Center at 302.998.1930 during normal business hours, or you can use our Contact Us form. Please note that we must receive seating requests at least 5 days prior to the departure date.

  • If you have not yet made your reservation, please tell us the name of the group you would like to sit with by completing the "Seat With" field when making your reservation online.

Yes. Digital gift cards are available for purchase online and can be redeemed for tickets or Gift Shop purchases. Please visit our Gift Card page for more details and to purchase a digital gift card.

THE TRAINS

The duration of the ride depends on the event. Most events are 1½-hours round-trip, but some of our rides are 2½-hours round-trip. The duration of each event is listed on its event page, which can be accessed from the Events & Fares page.

A ride on our historic train offers picturesque views of the Red Clay Creek and the wooded countryside throughout the valley. You'll see the historic Wooddale Covered Bridge, pass through the backyards of the homes that line our tracks, and travel through several rock cuts (tunnels without a roof) where the rock walls come within a few inches of the train! On most excursions, a narrator will provide information on the old mills, quarries and small towns that once lined our tracks.

For more detailed information about what you'll see, please take an online tour along The Route You'll Travel.

Yes. All trains operate rain or shine. However, we may cancel operations if severe weather (such as a blizzard, hurricane, tornado, etc.) presents a danger to our crew and passengers. In these rare cases, we will leave a message on our telephone system stating that we have cancelled operations. We will also post a message on our Facebook page.

Yes. You can bring food and drink on the train and eat or drink onboard as you travel through the Red Clay Valley. You can also purchase drinks and snacks in our Gift Shop.

No. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the train, in Greenbank Station or in the Red Clay Valley Visitor's Center & Museum.

Yes. There are restrooms on each of our coaches and cabooses, and inside Greenbank Station. There are no restrooms at the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove.

During colder months, our coaches, cabooses and Doodlebug railcar are all heated. Our Doodlebug railcar also features air-conditioning in the summer. Coaches and cabooses are NOT air-conditioned, but do have windows that open to provide fresh air on warmer days.

We have limited accessibility for handicapped persons. We have a wheelchair lift to board the train, but it is only able to access our passenger cars and the Parlor Car - the lift is not able to access our historic cabooses. Train doorways are only 24-inches wide and there is limited wheelchair storage available on the train. Also, there is no lift available to detrain at our Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove or in Hockessin.

Pets are not permitted on board, but service animals are welcome. A "service animal" (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act) is "a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability."

Yes. You must make advanced reservations to ride in the cab of our diesel or steam locomotives. There is a premium charge to ride in the cab and the cab rider must be at least 18 years of age and sign a liability release prior to the ride. Please call our Office & Education Center at 302.998.1930 for more details.

Yes. On most of our regularly scheduled train rides, the Birthday Caboose and/or Parlor Car are available to rent for your group's exclusive use on that excursion.

In addition, we also offer private train charters, which allow you to charter your own train at times when our regularly scheduled trains are not operating. Please note that the railroad does not provide in-house catering services. We recommend using our preferred caterer who has extensive knowledge of our operations and can provide exceptional food and beverage service for your event.

Like all forms of scheduled transportation, our trains leave on time, so the 12:30 train actually departs at 12:30! We recommend arriving 30 minutes prior to your departure time so you're not disappointed when you miss the train. We begin boarding the train 15 minutes prior to the departure time.

GREENBANK STATION

The Greenbank Station property is only open on the operating days listed on the schedule, and opens one hour before the first departure of the day.

We ask that you arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to your departure. This will give you ample time to purchase or pick up tickets and browse our Gift Shop.

Yes. The Greenbank Gift Shop is full of books, shirts, hats, toys, train whistles and a fine selection of Thomas the Tank Engine™ & Friends merchandise. Drinks and snacks are also available for purchase here. Please visit our Gift Shop page for more information and hours of operation.

As of June 12, 2023, our snack bar inside Greenbank Station is CLOSED. However, drinks and snacks are available for purchase in our Gift Shop.

Yes. The Friends of Brandywine Springs Park staff the Red Clay Valley Visitor's Center & Museum, located on the Greenbank Station property. The museum features displays on the railroad, Brandywine Springs Park and the Red Clay Valley region. There is no charge for museum admission, although donations are appreciated. The museum is only open on select operating days.

Yes. Greenbank Station and the Red Clay Valley Visitor's Center & Museum have ramps to enter the building.

There are restrooms inside Greenbank Station (as well as on the train). Unfortunately, we do not have a water fountain or an ATM machine. The ticket counter and Gift Shop are not able to provide cash back.

HISTORIC RED CLAY VALLEY INC. (HRCV)

Historic Red Clay Valley Inc. (HRCV) is the non-profit owner and operator of the Wilmington & Western Railroad. HRCV is a membership-based organization, and many of our members volunteer their time and energy in a variety of jobs to support HRCV and the Wilmington & Western.

The mission of HRCV is to preserve and interpret the natural, cultural and railroad heritage of northern Delaware, and specifically the features of the Red Clay Valley, for the education and enjoyment of the public.

You can donate online today by clicking the button below or by sending a check to:

Wilmington & Western Railroad
P.O. Box 5787
Wilmington, DE 19808

  Donate Now!  

Yes. Our dedicated volunteers literally run the railroad - they serve as railroad managers, conductors, engineers and shop mechanics. They also sell tickets, plan events and maintain the track and right-of-way.

We are always looking for individuals to join our volunteer team. Please see our Volunteer section to learn more about joining us as a volunteer.

Our Office & Education Center is open Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM. The office is closed on weekends and holidays.

DID YOU KNOW?